THE ROLE OF CEO RELATIVE STANDING IN ACQUISITION BEHAVIOR AND
CEO PAY
Jeongil Seo*
Sogang Business School
Sogang University
Sinsu-dong, Mapo-gu
Seoul, 121-742 Korea
Office: 82-2-705-7990
Fax: 82-2-705-8519
[email protected]
Daniel L. Gamache
Department of Management
Eli Broad College of Business
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
[email protected]
Cynthia E. Devers
Department of Management
Eli Broad College of Business
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
[email protected]
Mason A. Carpenter
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Wisconsin School of Business
Madison, WI 53706
[email protected]
* Corresponding author
This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not
been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which
may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this
article as doi: 10.1002/smj.2316
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ABSTRACT
In this study, we develop and test a theory of CEO relative pay standing. Specifically, we
propose that CEOs with negative relative pay standing status (underpaid relative to
comparison CEOs) will engage in acquisition activity, as a self-interested means of
attempting to realign their pay with that of their peers. We further propose that when CEOs
with negative relative pay standing acquire, they will tend to finance those acquisitions more
heavily with stock than cash, to mitigate the risk associated with those deals. Finally, we
argue that acquisition activity will partially mediate the influence of CEO negative relative
pay standing on subsequent CEO compensation increases; however, that pay growth will
come primarily in the form of long-term incentive pay. Our results support our predictions.
Keywords: executive compensation, corporate governance, relative standing, CEO
underpayment, mergers and acquisitions
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INTRODUCTION
The idea that compensation is an important governance mechanism is a fundamental
assumption of executive compensation theory and practice (Jensen and Meckling, 1976).
Research examining this assumption has generated rich insight into how CEOs’ own
compensation influences both their perceptions and behavioral outcomes (Devers et al., 2008;
Finkelstein, Hambrick, and Cannella, 2009; Gomez-Mejia and Wiseman, 1997; Harris and
Bromiley, 2007; Sanders, 2001; Sanders and Hambrick, 2007). Other related evidence,
however, suggests that the results of CEOs’ comparisons of their own pay to that of their
peers’ (CEO relative pay standing) may exhibit even more salient influences on CEOs’
perceptions and behavioral responses than does their own pay in isolation (e.g., Folger and
Cropanzano, 1998; Goodman, 1974). More specifically, drawing on extensive evidence
showing that employees tend to view pay as reflective of one’s perceived worth (e.g., skills,
knowledge, effort) to their firms (Wade, O'Reilly III, and Pollock, 2006), scholars have
argued that when individuals believe they are underpaid relative to peers, feelings of inequity
arise (Brown, Sturman, and Simmering, 2003; Greenberg, 1990; Pfeffer and Langton, 1993).
Further, considerable evidence has shown that employees respond to relative underpayment
with remedial actions designed to achieve perceived pay equity (Bloom, 1999; Bloom and
Michel, 2002; Cosier and Dalton, 1983; Cowherd and Levine, 1992; Fredrickson, DavisBlake, and Sanders, 2010; Janssen, 2001).
Some scholars have drawn on this research to examine the role of relative pay in the
CEO setting. This work has provided some preliminary evidence that CEO relative pay
standing, or the degree to which CEOs are underpaid or overpaid as compared to their peers,
appears to have implications for firm size, CEO turnover (Fong, Misangyi, and Tosi, 2010)
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and compensation (Ezzamel and Watson, 1998).1 However, the specific actions underpaid
CEOs may take in response to underpayment and whether those actions result in subsequent
pay increases remain unclear. Drawing on evidence that CEOs can receive significant
personal benefits from acquiring other firms, we develop and test a more complete theoretical
explanation of whether, when, and how CEO relative pay standing influences CEO
acquisition behavior and subsequent pay.
Gaining a deeper understanding of the antecedents of acquisition activity is an
important endeavor. Research has consistently demonstrated that acquisitions typically
generate unstable and, often, negative firm returns (Datta, Iskandar‐Datta, and Raman, 2001;
King et al., 2004; Schijven and Hitt, 2012). Nevertheless, evidence has shown that CEOs can
derive significant personal benefits, such as increased discretion, visibility, prominence,
power, and pay from acquiring other firms (Chen, Hambrick, and Pollock, 2008; Hambrick,
Finkelstein, and Mooney, 2005; Henderson and Fredrickson, 1996). Recent research suggests
that these factors are especially salient to underpaid CEOs, as they likely perceive they are
undervalued and underappreciated, compared to peers leading similar firms with comparable
characteristics and performance (Fong et al., 2010; Wade et al., 2006). Nevertheless, recent
evidence suggests that CEOs who acquire primarily for self-interested reasons (e.g.,
increasing subsequent pay) simultaneously perceive increased downside risk related to those
acquisitions and, thus, engage in actions intended to minimize that risk (Devers et al., 2013).
Specifically, scholars suggest that when acquirers are uncertain about the value creation
potential of their acquisitions, they tend to finance deals with higher levels of stock, to help
offset that risk (Schijven and Hitt, 2012).
Our study draws on this work to offer important theoretical and empirical
contributions to the executive compensation, corporate governance, and merger and
1
In this study, we use the terms CEO negative relative pay standing, CEO underpayment, and underpaid CEOs
synonymously, to reflect the condition under which CEOs are paid less relative to their similar labor market
peers.
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acquisition (M&A) literatures. First, we propose that negative relative pay standing will
motivate CEOs to attempt to increase their subsequent pay by making acquisitions. Our
results support this prediction by showing that CEO negative relative standing status
positively influences acquisition behavior. Second, we propose and find support for the
argument that underpaid CEOs who acquire will endeavor to mitigate the risk associated with
those deals by financing those acquisitions with a greater percentage of stock (Haleblian et al.,
2009). Third, we argue that CEOs who make acquisitions under negative relative pay
standing conditions will increase their pay (Ezzamel and Watson, 1998). We further argue
that acquisition activity will exhibit a positive influence on subsequent CEO pay, beyond that
of firm growth. In support, we find that acquisitions appear to offer acquiring CEOs greater
opportunities to increase their compensation than simply increasing firm size. Our results
further show that acquisition activity partially mediates the influence of CEO negative
relative pay standing on subsequent compensation increases. Finally, in line with our
argument that CEO underpayment elicits self-interested motives for acquiring, we further
predict that the directors of firms led by CEOs who make acquisitions under negative relative
pay standing conditions will be more likely to fund subsequent CEO pay increases with longterm pay, than short-term pay, to more tightly align their CEOs’ interests with those of
shareholders. Our findings support this prediction by showing that, although underpaid CEOs
who acquire tend to successfully increase their pay, those increases derive primarily from
long term, incentive-based compensation awards.
THEORY DEVELOPMENT
Scholars have long emphasized the symbolic nature of pay. In this regard, Barnard
(1938:145), argued that ‘the real value of differences of monetary reward lies in the
recognition or distinction assumed to be conferred.’ Lawler (1966) agreed, suggesting that its
reflection as symbolic reward may be the most salient motivational property of pay. More
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recently, a number of upper echelon scholars have built on this work to suggest that because
pay levels serve as important indicators of others’ perceptions of CEO skill and expertise,
CEOs regularly compare their pay with that of their labor market peers (Bebchuk and Fried,
2004; Finkelstein et al., 2009). This research suggests that pay comparisons have substantial
motivational effects for CEOs.
Although CEO labor markets are far from efficient in terms of supply and demand
(Crystal, 1991; Khurana, 2002), these markets are often viewed as informationally efficient,
particularly in terms of CEO compensation (Ezzamel and Watson, 1998; Fong et al., 2010).
For example, executive search firms collect and disseminate copious amounts of information
regarding top executive pay (Finkelstein et al., 2009; Khurana, 2002). Executive networks
and interlocking directors responsible for selecting, evaluating, and compensating CEOs also
facilitate compensation information transparency (Davis and Greve, 1997; Haunschild, 1993).
In addition, other sources, such as compensation consultants, business media outlets, annual
proxy statements and reports, etc. also contribute to the wide distribution of executive
compensation figures. The extensive availability of executive pay information facilitates pay
comparisons and, thus, renders CEOs’ relative pay standing highly visible to those and other
CEOs, their firms’ internal and external stakeholders, and the public (Finkelstein et al., 2009).
Given the salience of pay, it follows that CEOs ‘keep track of their relative standing’
(Finkelstein et al., 2009: 311).
CEO behavioral responses to negative relative pay standing
Scholars have long argued that the results of pay comparisons can motivate significant
behavioral consequences (Adams, 1963; Ambrose and Kulik, 1999; Heneman and Judge,
2000). Indeed, individuals tend to view pay as reflective of one’s ability, worth, and social
status (Frank, 1985; Mitchell and Mickel, 1999). This relative view of compensation, often
grounded in equity, justice, and social comparison theories (e.g., Adams, 1965; Festinger,
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1954), has shown that individuals gauge the perceived fairness of their pay via peer pay
comparisons and, further, that the results of these comparisons can significantly influence
their perceptions and behaviors. This, and related work, has further shown that individuals
who perceive they are underpaid relative to peers experience feelings of inequity (Greenberg,
1990; Pfeffer and Langton, 1993; Trevor and Wazeter, 2006). In turn, those underpaid
individuals tend to engage in remedial actions aimed at restoring perceived pay fairness
(Bloom, 1999; Bloom and Michel, 2002; Connelly et al., forthcoming; Cosier and Dalton,
1983; Cowherd and Levine, 1992; Fredrickson et al., 2010; Grund and Westergaard-Nielsen,
2008; Janssen, 2001).
Building on this work, Fong and colleagues (2010) recently argued and found that
CEO relative underpayment positively influenced subsequent firm growth. Although this
finding provided initial insight into an important consequence of underpayment in the CEO
context, the specific actions underpaid CEOs may take to grow their firms and whether such
growth influences subsequent CEO pay remain unclear. We attempt to advance this line of
research by proposing that CEOs will respond to relative underpayment by engaging in
measures they feel hold the potential to raise their relative standing (increase their pay).
Specifically, we argue that CEO negative relative pay standing will positively influence
acquisition activity, as underpaid CEOs attempt to better align their pay with that of peers.
We further predict that such acquisition activity will positively influence the subsequent pay
of those underpaid CEOs, beyond what increases to firm size might produce.
Acquisition behavior
We develop our theory by drawing on evidence showing that CEOs can derive significant
personal benefits from acquiring other firms (Haleblian et al., 2009). Specifically, recent
research demonstrates that the value of acquiring firm CEOs’ compensation awards increases
following acquisitions, often irrespective of subsequent acquisition performance (Bliss and
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Rosen, 2001; Grinstein and Hribar, 2004; Harford and Li, 2007). These pay increases are due,
in part, to the conventional assumption that managing larger firms requires greater cognitive
ability and executive skill than managing smaller firms (e.g., Henderson and Fredrickson,
1996; Smith and Watts, 1992). Therefore, higher pay is often assumed necessary to attract
and/or retain CEOs who have the capabilities and skills to lead large firms (Fulmer, 2009;
Haleblian et al., 2009; Rosen, 1986). In a related vein, acquisitions typically heighten the
complexity of acquiring firms, which, in turn, can enhance CEOs’ discretion and bargaining
power, potentially increasing their ability to negotiate more lucrative future compensation
contracts (Carpenter and Seo, 2007; Hambrick et al., 2005; Henderson and Fredrickson,
1996). In support, research has shown that acquiring another firm typically increases CEOs’
pay much more quickly than does internal or organic growth (Bliss and Rosen, 2001; Harford
and Li, 2007; Shelton, 1988). More recently, drawing on Bliss and Rosen’s (2001: 110)
argument that, ‘even mergers which reduce shareholder value can be in a manager’s private
interest,’ Devers and colleagues (2013) suggested that personal interests, such as increasing
compensation, discretion, and power, may actually provide the motivating forces behind
many CEOs’ acquisition decisions.
Given that pay tends to reflect individuals’ competence and worth (Fulmer, 2009;
Mitchell and Mickel, 1999; O'Reilly III, Main, and Crystal, 1988; Tang, 1992; Wade et al.,
2006), it is no surprise that CEOs are sensitive to their relative pay standing (Finkelstein et al.,
2009). Thus, we expect underpaid CEOs are highly motivated to improve their relative pay
standing status. Integrating these arguments with theory and evidence from the M&A
literature discussed above leads us to propose that negative relative pay standing will
motivate CEOs to engage in acquisition activity as a means of attempting to better align their
pay with that of peers. Formally stated, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 1. CEO negative relative pay standing is positively associated with
acquisition activity.
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Payment method
A large body of research has documented that most large acquisitions generate null or
negative acquirer returns (Datta et al., 2001; Haleblian et al., 2009; Hitt et al., 2001). Thus,
although acquiring another firm may offer CEOs substantial personal benefits, scholars are
generally skeptical about whether acquisitions enhance firm value (Haleblian et al., 2009).
Acquiring CEOs appear to share this concern. For example, Devers and colleagues’ (2013)
recent research shows that CEOs tend to exercise stock options and sell firm stock following
their own acquisition announcements. These authors further argued that although CEOs
possibly believe that they will reap personal benefits from acquisitions, at the same time their
unloading of firm equity following acquisition announcements suggests they attempt to
minimize the personal downside potential related to their acquisitions.
We argued earlier that underpaid CEOs will pursue acquisitions to increase their pay
as a self-interested means of better aligning it with that of their peers. Although all acquiring
CEOs face downside acquisition-related potential, we propose such concerns can be
exacerbated for underpaid CEOs. For example, scholars have firmly documented that CEOs
can accrue sizable personal benefits from acquiring other firms (Haleblian et al., 2009).
However, when personal interests serve as a primary motivation for acquisitions, acquiring
CEOs appear to question the ability of those acquisitions to produce long-term value (Devers
et al., 2013). Given our argument that CEOs with negative relative pay standing will seek to
acquire to increase their own pay, we expect that underpaid acquiring CEOs may sense
additional uncertainty about the success of potential acquisitions and, thus, although they still
are intent on acquiring, they will focus on mitigating the downside potential of doing so.
The research above suggests that although underpaid CEOs will perceive acquisitions as
an instrument to increase their pay, they will simultaneously work to mitigate their personal
downside exposure from those investments. Thus, we argue that underpaid CEOs’ desire to
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reduce such downside potential will manifest in how they finance acquisitions. Specifically,
acquirers generally finance acquisitions with cash, stock, or some combination (Haleblian et
al., 2009). Payment in stock, as opposed to cash, allows the acquiring firm and its investors to
share some of the acquisition-related risk with the acquired firm and its owners (Hansen,
1987; Martin, 1996). As such, when acquiring CEOs are highly certain about an acquisition’s
ability to generate returns they are likely to use cash to ensure they capture the full value of
the gains associated with that acquisition (Carow, Heron, and Saxton, 2004). However, when
acquirers question the value enhancing potential of acquisitions, they tend to finance deals
with higher levels of stock, to help offset risk (Schijven and Hitt, 2012). We argued earlier
that given their potentially self-interested motives for acquiring, underpaid CEOs may not be
highly certain about the long-term value creation potential of their impending acquisitions.
Therefore, we propose that underpaid CEOs who acquire will rely more on stock as an
acquisition payment method. Thus, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 2. When acquisitions are made, CEO negative relative pay standing
will positively influence the use of stock as a payment method.
Subsequent Pay Change
We develop our final arguments by integrating evidence from pay fairness research (e.g.,
equity, justice, and social comparison) with executive compensation, governance, and M&A
scholarship to propose that acquisition activity partially mediates the effect of CEO negative
relative pay standing on subsequent pay. Specifically, as discussed earlier, the assumption
that overseeing larger, complex firms requires greater cognitive capabilities and skills than
overseeing smaller, less complex firms is common (e.g., Haleblian et al., 2009; Henderson
and Fredrickson, 1996; Smith and Watts, 1992). Given acquisitions typically increase firm
complexity and scope, acquiring CEOs’ often accrue increased visibility, prominence,
decision-making discretion, and bargaining power, which can potentially raise their ability to
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negotiate more lucrative future compensation contracts (Carpenter and Seo, 2007; Hambrick
et al., 2005; Henderson and Fredrickson, 1996).
CEO compensation contracts are structured through intense negotiations, involving
CEOs, compensation committee members and, often, consultants and investors (Miller, 1995).
The intensity of such negotiations increase when the relative attractiveness of CEOs’ pay is
low (Gerhart and Rynes, 1991). We argued earlier that CEOs in negative relative pay
standing will seek to acquire to increase their compensation. As a consequence, we expect
underpaid acquiring CEOs to enthusiastically point to increases in firm complexity and scope
to help justify arguments for higher pay (Henderson and Fredrickson, 1996). We expect this,
together with the potential increased bargaining power received from acquiring, to positively
impact underpaid CEOs ability to influence their subsequent pay (Bliss and Rosen, 2001;
Chen et al., 2008; Gomez-Mejia and Wiseman, 1997; Grinstein and Hribar, 2004; Hambrick
et al., 2005; Harford and Li, 2007; Henderson and Fredrickson, 1996; Pollock, Porac, and
Wade, 2004). Further, although firm size has been shown to positively influence
compensation (Tosi et al., 2000), we propose that acquisitions may allow underpaid CEOs to
increase their compensation beyond the potential effect of firm growth. Thus, we
hypothesize:
Hypothesis 3. Acquisition activity (controlling for change in firm size) is: a)
positively related to subsequent pay change and b) partially mediates the
relationship between CEO negative relative pay standing and subsequent pay
change.
Long-term and short-term pay
We posited above that underpaid CEOs will receive pay increases following acquisitions. We
further develop our understanding of this relationship by examining how those pay increases
are structured. Specifically, we argue that pay increases that follow underpaid CEOs’
acquisition activity are more likely to take the form of incentive-based long-term pay than
short-term cash-based pay.
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As we argued, we expect underpaid CEOs to attempt to resolve their negative relative
standing. Self-interest underlies our theorizing, in that we propose underpaid CEOs may view
acquisitions as a means of increasing their own subsequent compensation, and acquire
accordingly. Research has shown that CEOs have a great deal of freedom in undertaking
actions, such as acquisitions (Sanders and Hambrick, 2007). Nevertheless, directors are
expected to ensure that their CEOs are engaging in behaviors designed to enhance firm value
(Devers et al., 2008). Thus, when underpaid CEOs make acquisitions, their acquiring firm
directors may sense the possibility that self-interest has motivated those acquisition decisions
and, in turn, perceive potential misalignment of CEOs’ and shareholders’ interests.
Given the difficulties and costliness of directly monitoring CEO behaviors, directors
have sought new ways to align CEOs interests with those of shareholders. Considerable
governance research has shown that directors’ primary alternative alignment mechanism is
long-term incentive pay (e.g., Finkelstein et al., 2009; Jensen and Meckling, 1976; Sanders
and Hambrick, 2007). This research suggests that, if acquiring firm directors suspect the
possibility of self-interest regarding their underpaid CEOs’ intentions for acquiring, they will
seek to more tightly align CEO-shareholder interests by tying their CEOs’ pay to
performance, via long-term pay forms, during the subsequent compensation structuring
period. Therefore, although we expect directors to award underpaid CEOs higher pay
following their acquisitions, we propose this increase is more likely to take the form of longterm, than short-term pay. Thus, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 4. Underpaid CEOs’ acquisition activity is more likely to lead to
subsequent long-term pay increases than subsequent short-term pay increases.
METHODS
Sample
To test our hypotheses, we used longitudinal panel data with a sample that consisted of the
firms covered in Standard & Poor(S&P)’s Execucomp database for the years 1996 through to
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2008. We lagged all independent variables and all firm-level control variables one year. As
such, we excluded firm-year observations if the previous year’s CEO relative pay standing
and firm-level control variables were unavailable. Our final sample included 7,670 firm-year
observations from 1,468 distinct firms. We used the full sample for our tests of Hypotheses 1,
3a, 3b, and 4. For our tests of Hypothesis 2, we used a reduced sample consisting of only
firm-year observations where at least one acquisition occurred. This reduced sample
consisted of 3,448 observations when all acquisitions were considered and 2,370 observations
when only large acquisitions were considered.
We drew all CEO compensation data from the Execucomp service, which collects
compensation data from firms’ proxy statements. In addition, we gathered firm financial data
from Compustat, industry data from the Compustat Segments database, and board structure
data from the RiskMetrics database (formerly the Investor Responsibility Research Center).
Finally, data on firm acquisition activities came from the SDC Mergers & Acquisitions
Database.
Dependent variables
Acquisition Activity
To test our hypotheses regarding the influence of CEO negative relative pay standing on CEO
acquisition activity and the direct and mediation effects of acquisition activity on subsequent
change in CEO pay, we measured total acquisitions as the number of acquisitions announced
during a year and subsequently completed. Our use of the count measure of acquisition
activities is consistent with previous studies and, therefore, facilitates a rigorous comparison
between the current study’s findings and those of previous studies (Haunschild, 1993;
Haunschild and Beckman, 1998; Sanders, 2001). We also captured a separate measure of
acquisition activity that included only large acquisitions, calculated as the number of
acquisitions whose total deal size was greater than 1 million dollars. We winsorized the
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extreme 1% of the distribution of acquisition activity variables to reduce the effects of
extreme observations. Results without winsorizing were completely consistent with those
reported.
Payment method
To test our hypothesis regarding the impact of CEO negative relative pay standing on
payment method, following McNamara, Haleblian, and Dykes (2008), we drew the acquirer’s
‘percentage of the stock used’ variable from the SDC Mergers & Acquisitions Database. This
value was averaged on an annual basis based on all acquisitions announced during the year
and subsequently completed. When the SDC database did not report a percentage of stock
used, we recorded this value as zero. Results were fully consistent when we coded those
values as missing.
CEO subsequent pay change
Hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 4 proposed that acquisition activity would mediate the relationship
between CEO negative relative pay standing and subsequent CEO pay increases. The
dependent variable in Hypotheses 3a and 3b is change in total compensation. To capture
change in total compensation, we used the total CEO compensation each firm publically
reported during each year of our sample. We simultaneously controlled for the previous
year’s total compensation (Graffin, Boivie, and Carpenter, 2013). This method allowed us to
partial out the influence of previous year total compensation from current year total
compensation (Cohen and Cohen, 1983; Dunlap, Dietz, and Cortina, 1997; Firebaugh and
Gibbs, 1985), thus, avoiding the problems that difference scores produce when used as a
dependent variable (Edwards, 1994, 1995).
Our sample encompasses 1996-2008. Importantly, after 2005, (as a result of the
revised 2004 Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123 (FAS 123(R)), public
firms changed the way they reported some compensation awards (Kuhnen and Niessen, 2012).
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Thus, the post-2005 CEO compensation reporting format differs from the format firms used
during the years 1996-2005.
As our theory suggests, CEOs compare their pay with that of peers. Although one
could calculate CEO compensation in multiple ways, it is most reasonable to believe that
CEOs make pay comparisons using widely-publicized compensation figures, such as those
reported in proxy statements and SEC filings, rather than individually tabulating their own
pay and that of peers, using some other calculation method. The tediousness of individually
tabulating CEO pay for oneself and peers notwithstanding, compensation figures reported in
proxy statements and SEC filings are those the business media typically use when comparing
CEO pay to that of peers’, to lower-level employees, and to firm performance (Bebchuk and
Fried 2004; Connelly et al., forthcoming; O’Reilly III et al., 1988; Wade et al., 2006). Thus,
they are widely-known and recognized. We wanted to ensure that the total compensation
variable accurately reflected these publically reported CEO compensation figures for the
1996-2005 and post-2005 periods. Therefore, we operationalized total compensation for years
1996-2005 as the total annual CEO compensation the firm publically reported during that
time frame: the sum of salary, bonus, total value of restricted stock awards, Black-Scholes
value of stock option awards, long-term incentive payouts, and other compensation
(compensation received by the CEO including perquisites and other personal benefits,
termination or change-in-control payments, contributions to defined contribution plans, life
insurance premiums, gross-ups, and other tax reimbursements, and discounted share
purchases).
For years 2006-2008, we operationalized total compensation as the total annual CEO
compensation the firm publically reported in SEC filings: the sum of salary, bonus, value of
stock option awards (as the firm reported on its income statement and the values the firm
capitalized on its balance sheet for the fiscal year), value of stock awards, including restricted
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stock, restricted stock units, phantom stock, phantom stock units, common stock equivalents
(as the firm reported on its income statement and the values the firm capitalized on its
balance sheet for the fiscal year), non-equity incentive plan compensation earned, change in
pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings, and other compensation
(compensation received by the CEO including perquisites and other personal benefits,
termination or change-in-control payments, contributions to defined contribution plans, life
insurance premiums, gross-ups, and other tax reimbursements, and discounted share
purchases). To test Hypothesis 4, we then separated total compensation into change in shortterm compensation and change in long-term compensation. Due to skewness, we used the
natural logarithm of the compensation variables.
Independent variables
Following previous research, we operationalized CEO relative pay standing by taking the
residuals from the regression of CEO total pay on important determinants of CEO total pay
(Ambrose and Kulik, 1999; Cowherd and Levine, 1992; Fong et al., 2010; Levine, 1993;
Wade et al., 2006; Wowak, Hambrick, and Henderson, 2011). First, we constructed the
following equation that included firm size, performance, human capital, and CEO labor
market membership as determinants of CEO compensation (O'Reilly III et al., 1988):
ln(Total compensation)it = β0 + β1 ln(Firm sales)it + β2 ln(Firm assets)it + β3 (ROA)it +
β4 (Shareholder return)it + β5 (CEO tenure)it + β6 (CEO tenure)2it +
n
∑α
k =1
n
k
Industry +
∑γ
n
k
S & P_Index +
k =1
∑ δ Year + ν + ε
k
i
it
k =1
We captured firm size through firm sales and firm assets. As is typical, firm sales and
firm assets were highly skewed, and thus, we used the natural logarithm of these variables in
the equation. We used ROA and shareholder return to measure firm performance. Following
O'Reilly III et al. (1988), we used CEO tenure (number of years in the CEO role) as the proxy
for CEO human capital. Because research has suggested that the value of CEO human capital
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decreases for long-tenured CEOs (Hambrick and Finkelstein, 1995), we added the square of
CEO tenure to our model. We also included additional variables to account for the effects of
CEO labor market membership because our theory posits that CEOs will compare their pay to
that of their labor market peers. We controlled for each specific labor market by including
dummy codes for industry groups, based on SIC 2-digit codes. Further, recent evidence
suggests that directors, executives, and external stakeholders appear to make comparisons
within the different S&P indices (Cadman, Klasa and Matsunga, 2010). As such, we
controlled for membership within different S&P size indices (spcode in Execucomp): S&P
large-cap, S&P mid-cap, and S&P small-cap.2 We also included a control for Year to capture
any periodic systemic variation. Finally, because of the panel nature of our data we utilized
between-effects panel estimation (clustered on firms) for our analysis. We then used the
between-effect residuals from this wage equation to calculate CEO overpayment and CEO
underpayment (Fong et al., 2010).
Positive residuals and negative residuals, respectively, represented positive and
negative CEO relative pay standing among peer CEOs (in terms of relative overpayment and
underpayment). We operationalized CEO overpayment by equating it to the residual value if
positive and by setting it to zero, if not. We set the CEO underpayment variable at the
residual value if negative and to zero, if not. To more clearly report the effect of CEO
underpayment, we reversed the negative signs, such that increasing positive values reflected
higher underpayment levels (Fong et al., 2010). We then lagged the values for CEO
overpayment and underpayment variables by one year.
2
Cadman, and colleagues (2010) found significant within indices similarities (S&P large-cap, S&P mid-cap,
and S&P small-cap) and between indices differences in CEO’s compensation levels and structures, as well as
external factors such as number of analysts covering the firm, level of media coverage and stock liquidity. This
suggests these indices represent salient comparison groups (i.e., CEOs of S&P large-cap firms are likely to
compare their compensation with that of other S&P large-cap CEOs, but may not engage in social comparison
with CEOs from the other indices). In our analysis, firms included in the Execucomp database but not currently
in one of these indices are considered small-cap firms. Not including the S&P indices in our analyses provided
results consistent with those reported.
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Control variables
We included several variables in our analyses to control for the influence of factors that
might otherwise explain our results. First, we controlled for prior firm performance using
return on assets (ROA). We also controlled for free cash flow (Haunschild, 1993; McNamara
et al., 2008), and diversification, operationalized as the entropy measure (Hoskisson, Johnson,
and Moesel, 1994; Palepu, 1985; Westphal and Fredrickson, 2001). To be consistent with
prior research, we controlled for firm size by creating a composite factor using principal
components analysis (PCA; Jackson, 1991) based on the natural logarithm of sales and the
natural logarithm of number of employees (Fong et al., 2010; Tosi et al., 2004).
When examining whether the impact of acquisitions on subsequent pay change
exceeded that of changes in firm size (for Hypotheses 3 and 4), we operationalized change in
firm size as (firm sizet – firm sizet-1)/ firm sizet-1 (Fong, et al., 2010). In addition, since firmspecific resources may impact acquisition decisions, we included firm R&D expense as a
control variable. Because R&D expenditures are frequently not reported in the Compustat
database, we followed prior research and assumed an R&D value of 0 if the data was missing
(e.g., Henderson, Miller, and Hambrick, 2006; O'Brien, 2003). Not including R&D
expenditures in our analyses provided results consistent with those reported.
Given the importance of CEO power in executive decision making, we controlled
CEO power by constructing a composite variable (using PCA) comprised of three different
measures: CEO tenure relative to directors’ average tenure, the proportion of directors
appointed by the current CEO, and CEO duality; a dichotomous variable set to ‘1’ if the CEO
was board chair and ‘0’ if not (Boeker, 1992; Main, O'Reilly III, and Wade, 1995; Wade,
O'Reilly III, and Chandratat, 1990; Westphal and Zajac, 1994, 2001). To account for CEO
change, we used a dichotomous variable set ‘1’ if there was a change in CEO for the firm in
that year and ‘0’ if no change occurred. We also controlled for CEO pay structure by using
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the ratio of long-term pay to total pay (Carpenter and Sanders, 2002). In addition, because
researchers have found that board vigilance may associate with acquisition activity
(Hoskisson and Turk, 1990) and executive compensation (Daily et al., 1998), we controlled
for board independence, using the proportion of unaffiliated outside directors.
To account for industry conditions we included control variables that captured
industry dynamism and industry munificence. Following prior research, we regressed industry
sales on a year-count variable for the five year period ending in the focal year. The standard
error of the regression coefficient divided by mean industry sales is used as a measure for
industry dynamism while the regression coefficient divided by mean industry sales is used as
a measure for industry munificence (Dess and Beard, 1984; McNamara et al., 2008). To
control any unmeasured period-specific effects, we included dummy codes for each year.
Finally, in models in which the dependent variable was either the number or the
characteristics of acquisitions, we controlled for the previous periods’ number of acquisitions.
Analysis
We used a random-effects negative binomial regression model to test the CEO relative pay
standing-acquisition activity hypothesis, because the dependent variable was a count variable.
Negative binomial regression is appropriate for a count variable when the variable’s variance
exceeds its mean (i.e., overdispersion; Sanders, 2001). We also estimated the model using the
random-effects Poisson regression model and found no material differences in our results.
For all other models we use generalized estimating equations (GEE) which is appropriate for
analyzing panel data where there are measures repeated over time (Henderson et al., 2006;
Liang and Zeger, 1986; Ndofor, Sirmon, and He, 2011; Quigley and Hambrick, 2012). This
analytical technique is appropriate for our study, as we explored the impact of CEO
underpayment relative to peer CEOs in their respective labor markets. We also tested our
models using random effects regression and all results were consistent with those reported
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here.
RESULTS
Table 1 presents means and standard deviations for each of the variables as well as their
bivariate correlations. The results from the random-effects negative binomial regression
model used to examine whether underpaid CEOs were more likely to engage in acquisition
activity are reported in Table 2. As earlier noted, we used both the number of total
acquisitions and the number of large acquisitions to test our hypotheses.
*** Insert Table 1 about here***
*** Insert Table 2 about here***
Models 1 and 3 of Table 2 report the effects of our control variables on acquisition
activity. As expected, the effects of several of the control variables were significant. With
regard to our variables of interest, with Hypothesis 1, we predicted that CEO negative relative
pay standing would positively influence acquisition activity. The coefficients for CEO
underpayment in both Model 2 and Model 4 were positive and significant in predicting both
the total number of acquisitions (p < .01) and number of large acquisitions (p < .001),
demonstrating that CEO relative underpayment was positively associated with the total
number of acquisitions and total number of large acquisitions, thus supporting Hypothesis 1.
The results for our tests of Hypothesis 2 are shown in Table 3. Given our predictions,
these tests were restricted to situations in which acquisitions occurred. Hypothesis 2 predicted
that CEO negative relative pay standing would positively influence the level of stock used to
finance acquisitions. Models 1 and 3 report the results of control variables only, while
Models 2 and 4 provide the tests of this hypothesis. As seen in Models 2 and 4, the
coefficients for CEO underpayment were positive and significant (p < .001), when the
dependent variable was the level of stock used for all acquisitions and large acquisitions.
Thus, Hypothesis 2 was supported.
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*** Insert Table 3 about here***
With Hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 4, we predicted that underpaid CEOs’ acquisition
activity would positively influence subsequent pay changes and, further, that acquisition
activity partially mediates the relationship between CEO negative relative pay standing and
subsequent pay increases. Table 4 presents three models for each dependent variable: total
compensation change, short-term compensation change, and long-term compensation change.
Models 1, 4, and 7 each show the main effect of CEO relative underpayment on
compensation changes. In each case, CEO underpayment was a strong positive predictor of
subsequent compensation changes (p < .001). Models 2, 5, and 8 added in the number of total
acquisitions, while Models 3, 6, and 9 included the number of large acquisitions. Hypothesis
3a predicted that firm acquisition activity (beyond change in firm size) would positively
influence subsequent total pay change. The coefficient for number of acquisitions in Model 2
and the coefficient for number of large acquisitions in Model 3 were both positive and
significant (p < .001), supporting this hypothesis.
Hypothesis 3b predicted that acquisition activity would partially mediate the
relationship between CEO negative relative pay standing and subsequent total pay change.
The results from these models, combined with those from Table 2, allowed us to test for
mediation using the product of coefficients approach (Alwin and Hauser, 1975; Sobel, 1982).
Specifically, we computed the indirect effect as the product of the coefficients of those paths
and tested for significance using Sobel’s (1982) standard error formula. This approach
allowed us to quantify the effect by performing a significance test for mediation. This
approach is common in management research and has been particularly emphasized as
appropriate for research using large samples (Koopman, Howe, and Hollenbeck,
forthcoming; MacKinnon et al., 2002; Stone and Sobel, 1990). As noted above, the main
effect of CEO underpayment on total compensation was positive and significant (p < .001).
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Further, the product of the coefficient test was significant both when considering all
acquisitions and only large acquisitions (p <.05). As such, Hypothesis 3b was also supported.
To test Hypothesis 4, we separated total compensation changes into short-term and
long-term compensation changes. Hypothesis 4 predicted that acquisition activity would be
more likely to lead to subsequent long-term pay increases than subsequent short-term pay
increases. To test this hypothesis we first examined the coefficient of number of acquisitions
in predicting subsequent changes in short-term pay. Models 5 and 6 of Table 4 show that the
effects of the total number of acquisitions and number of large acquisitions on short-term pay
changes were not significant. On the other hand, as Models 8 and 9 of Table 4 show, the
coefficient for acquisition behavior on subsequent changes in long-term pay was positive and
significant, both for total acquisitions and large acquisitions (p < .001), thereby supporting
Hypothesis 4.
In a supplemental analysis we tested the partial mediation effect of acquisition activity
on changes in long-term compensation. The partial mediation was significant both for total
acquisitions (p < .05) and large acquisitions (p < .01). Taken together, as predicted, while
acquisition activity does mediate the association between CEO negative relative standing and
pay increases, it does so primarily through changes in long-term compensation awards.
*** Insert Table 4 about here***
DISCUSSION
The purpose of our study was to develop a more complete theoretical understanding of the
effects of relative pay standing on CEO behavior. We believe that our results make several
contributions to the executive compensation, corporate governance, and merger and
acquisition (M&A) literatures. First, scholars have long sought to understand why CEOs
acquire other firms when evidence has consistently shown that such investments typically fail
to produce positive acquirer value (Haleblian et al., 2009). Recent research, however, has
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begun to reveal that CEOs often accrue substantial personal benefits from acquiring other
firms, often with little regard to acquisition performance (Bliss and Rosen, 2001; Grinstein
and Hribar, 2004; Harford and Li, 2007). Such benefits are particularly important to
underpaid CEOs who likely feel undervalued, relative to their peers (Fong et al., 2010; Wade
et al., 2006). Drawing on this work, we proposed and demonstrated that negative relative pay
standing status motivates CEOs to make acquisitions, presumably in order to better align their
pay with that of peers.
Second, we argued that when self-interested motives (e.g., increasing subsequent pay)
underlie decisions to acquire, CEOs will tend to perceive downside risk related to those
acquisitions and, thus, attempt to manage that risk (Devers et al., 2013). In line with this
proposition, we argued that CEOs who acquire under negative relative pay standing
conditions will respond to impending downside potential by financing their acquisitions more
heavily with stock, than cash, to transfer some of the risk associated with those deals from
their firms to target firms (Hansen, 1987; Martin, 1996; Schijven and Hitt, 2012). Our
findings are consistent with this prediction, thereby showing that the firm risk associated with
acquisitions is not lost on underpaid CEOs. However, rather than refraining from acquisition
behavior, altogether, underpaid CEOs take measures to offset this risk. We believe this
suggests that remedying negative relative pay standing may take precedence over serving
shareholder interests. To this point, we encourage other research that examines how
alternative corporate governance mechanisms and pay arrangements may affect underpaid
CEOs’ strategic investment behaviors.
Third, we find that underpaid CEOs who acquire appear to increase their pay. We also
show that that acquisition activity partially mediates the influence of CEO negative relative
pay standing on subsequent compensation increases, even when controlling for changes in
firm size. Scholars have shown that firm size is a chief driver of CEO compensation (Tosi et
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al., 2000). Indeed, an assumption exists that acquiring CEOs may acquire simply to increase
firm size (Haleblian et al., 2009). However, our results demonstrate that acquisitions appear
to offer additional pecuniary benefits above those provided by firm size enhancements.
Although data and space limitation restricted our ability to expressly examine the specific
factors that provide this CEO compensation premium, we speculate that the increased
discretion, visibility, prominence, and bargaining power that accompany acquisitions are
likely strong predictors. We encourage future work that continues to uncover the multilayered
drivers of CEO pay.
Fourth, although our findings demonstrate that underpaid acquiring CEOs do increase
their subsequent pay, those increases are funded predominantly by long term, incentive-based
compensation awards. Scholars have long argued that directors rely on long-term incentive
grants to better align CEOs’ interests with those of shareholders (c.f., Jensen and Meckling,
1976). Our finding suggests that although directors of firms led by underpaid CEOs might
originally approve acquisitions, they may eventually sense the possibility that their CEOs
may have acquired for self-interested reasons and, thus, seek to remedy such potential interest
misalignment by more strongly linking their CEOs’ pay to firm outcomes in the subsequent
compensation structuring period. Nevertheless, it may also be that directors fail to exercise
adequate vigilance, or worse, also act self-interested with regard to ratifying acquisitions. For
example, while association with larger, more prominent firms is beneficial for CEOs,
directors also profit from such ties (Chen et al., 2008; Finkelstein et al., 2009; Pollock et al.,
2004). In this way, directors too, can receive substantial benefits from acquisition-related
growth. This suggests that directors, whether they are self-interested or just simply not
vigilant, may eventually rely on long-term incentive pay awards as a substitute for the
adequate vetting of acquisition prospects. Although examining this question is beyond the
reach of this work, we suggest delving deeper into the decision-making processes that drive
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directors’ acquisition-related responses will further advance our understanding of M&A and
governance practices.
Further, Fong and colleagues (2010) found that CEO underpayment was positively
associated with subsequent CEO departure. In a supplemental analysis, we, similarly, found
that CEO underpayment exhibited a strong positive influence on subsequent CEO change.
Combining Fong and colleagues’ (2010) findings with our results showing that CEO
underpayment is positively associated with acquisition behavior after controlling for CEO
turnover, suggests some important avenues for future research. Specifically, scholars have
found that individuals frame situations as gains and losses around reference points, both in
general (e.g., Kahneman and Tversky, 1979), and with regard to their compensation (Devers,
et al., 2008; Larraza-Kintana, Gomez-Mejia, and Wiseman, 2011; Larraza-Kintana, et al.,
2007; Wiseman and Gomez-Mejia, 1998). Scholars have also held that managers tend to
perceive two such reference points as salient: a success reference point and a survival
reference point (e.g., Lopes, 1987; Shapira, 1995; March and Shapira, 1987, 1992).
Nevertheless, managers are argued to focus on one reference point at any given time (March
and Shapira, 1987, 1992).
We argued earlier that underpaid CEOs will engage in self-interested actions in
response to negative relative pay standing. Thus, it may be that when some CEOs are
underpaid, they remain focused on ‘success’ and continue to acquire because they view
acquisitions as potential pay and power equalizers. However, given CEO negative relative
standing can reflect low director and shareholder backing (David, Kochhar, and Levitas,
1998), other underpaid CEOs may sense employment risk and, thus, turn their attention
toward ‘survival’ (Lopes, 1987; Shapira, 1995). We suggest that such a survival mindset
may motivate underpaid CEOs to seek out new positions, or retire, to avoid the threats to
their reputations and financial, human, and social capital the stigma of termination may
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present (Fong, et. al., 2010; Semadeni et al., 2008; Simon and Houghton, 2003). It may also
be that those underpaid CEOs are involuntarily terminated. Although examining these new
research avenues is beyond the scope of this work, we believe scholars could further advance
our findings by drawing on recent theorizing by Wowak and Hambrick (2010) to explore how
CEOs’ individual characteristics (e.g., narcissism, regulatory focus, etc.) influence the degree
to which CEOs focus on success or survival.
Another fertile opportunity for future research involves exploring additional ways that
CEOs may compare themselves to others. Although this, too, is beyond the range of our study,
we believe that CEOs likely compare themselves to peers on other dimensions (e.g., media
coverage, reputation, winning certification contests, board appointments, number and status
of speaking engagements, etc.). Further research that considers these factors should continue
to advance our knowledge regarding the influence of social comparison in the CEO context.
A final interesting avenue for future research might be to examine how positive
relative pay standing (overpaid relative to peers) influences CEO perceptions and behaviors.
Although our results suggest that CEO overpayment does not influence acquisition activity,
they do show negative relationships between CEO overpayment and subsequent total, shortterm, and long-term pay changes. While interesting, we suggest more fine-grained research is
required to develop a more complete understanding of the influence of CEO overpayment on
CEO actions and subsequent pay.
In conclusion, we believe that the results of our study underscore the importance of
relative pay standing for executive compensation, corporate governance, and M&A theories
and practices. We hope our theory and findings provide additional motivation to scholars
seeking to advance our understanding of how CEO pay comparisons influence CEOs’,
directors, and other stakeholders’ perceptions and responses.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We thank Co-Editor Will Mitchell and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights
in the review process. We also thank Bert Cannella, Barry Gerhart, Chip Hunter, Gerry
McNamara, and James Wade for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. This
research was supported by the Sogang University Research Grant of 2011.
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Table 1. Descriptive statistics
Variables
Me
an
s.d.
0.8
0
1.3
7
9.7
7
8.0
3
1
2
26.
95
1.1
2
0.1
2
0.2
2
0.1
0
6.9
4
0.9
4
0.1
4
0.0
1
0.6
0
7.0
9
2.0
6
0.1
6
0.0
7
0.8
6
0.3
5
0.0
2
0.0
2
0.0
3
0.0
4
0.0
5
0.0
4
0.0
7
0.0
6
0.0
6
0.0
1
0.0
7
0.0
7
0.0
4
0.0
6
0.0
4
0.5
1
0.5
0
0.1
3
0.1
4
0.1
7
0.0
9
0.0
3
0.6
7
0.1
7
0.0
2
0.1
6
0.0
8
0.2
1
0.0
1
0.5
3
0.2
8
0.0
9
0.0
5
0.3
9
0.0
6
0.4
4
0.0
8
0.0
2
0.0
2
1 CEO
1 change
0.1
2
0.3
3
0.0
2
0.0
0
0.0
2
0.0
6
0.0
1
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
1
1 CEO
2 power t-1
0.0
0
1.4
2
0.0
0
0.0
6
0.0
2
0.0
3
0.0
3
0.0
2
1 Firm
3 size t-1
0.2
1
1.2
7
0.2
3
0.5
2
0.4
3
0.3
8
1
ROA t-1
4
0.0
4
0.1
6
0.0
8
0.1
1
0.1
1
0.0
8
R&D
1
expense
5
129
.34
557
.23
0.2
4
0.2
4
0.1
0
0.1
7
0.0
1
0.0
6
0.0
4
0.0
8
Total
1 acquisiti
ons
Stock
2
payment
CEO
3
total pay
CEO
4 shortterm pay
CEO
5 longterm pay
Industry
6 dynamis
m
Industry
7 munifice
nce
8
Diversifi
cation t-1
Board
9 indepen
dence t-1
CEO
1 pay
0 structure
t-1
t-1
1
6
1
7
1
8
0.0
8
0.0
6
0.0
3
0.1
3
0.0
7
3
4
5
6
7
0.0
5
0.0
2
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
0.1
3
0.1
8
0.0
3
0.0
0
0.0
2
0.0
3
0.0
6
0.0
2
0.2
9
0.1
0
0.1
9
0.0
3
0.0
3
0.0
7
0.0
1
0.0
1
0.0
1
0.0
6
0.0
1
0.1
3
0.0
1
0.1
3
0.0
8
0.1
3
0.0
3
0.0
3
0.
33
0.0
7
0.0
3
Free
0.0
6.0 0.0
0.0 0.0 0.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.0 0.
0.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.0
cash
2
7
1
1
1
1
1
1
0
2
5 00
1
1
1
1
2
flow t-1
CEO
0.2
0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
0.0
0.0
0.3
0.0
0. 0.0 0. 0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.0
overpay
4
1
4
6
7
3
3
8
1 03
0 02
1
1
2
6
3
1
ment t-1
CEO
0.2
0.4 0.0 0.0
0.0
0.0 0.0
0.
0.0 0.0 0.0
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3
0.0 0.0
0.0 0.3
underpa
4
2
1
6
3
7
1
01
5
8
6
6
1
6
6
1
7
3
4
yment t-1
Notes: N = 7,670, except for variable 2 where N = 3,448; p < 0.05 for correlations in bold; two-tailed test.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Table 2. The effects of CEO underpayment on acquisition behavior
Intercept
Prior acquisitions t-1
Industry dynamism
Industry munificence
Diversification t-1
Board independence t-1
CEO pay structure t-1
CEO change
CEO power t-1
Firm size t-1
ROA t-1
R&D expense t-1
Free cash flow t-1
All acquisitions
Model 1
Model 2
0.4187 **
0.3387 *
(0.1612)
0.1687
(0.0110)
-1.0963
(1.4041)
0.2948
(0.3561)
0.1167
(0.0466)
0.0128
(0.1299)
0.1629
(0.0704)
-0.0591
(0.0503)
0.0084
(0.0142)
0.1236
(0.0228)
1.7169
(0.2306)
0.0001
(0.0000)
0.0022
(0.0056)
***
*
*
***
***
***
CEO overpayment t-1
CEO underpayment t-1
Wald chi-square
562.08
***
(0.1646)
0.1705
(0.0111)
-1.0562
(1.4037)
0.2827
(0.3561)
0.1179
(0.0464)
-0.0011
(0.1298)
0.2446
(0.0853)
-0.0643
(0.0503)
0.0094
(0.0142)
0.1197
(0.0228)
1.7419
(0.2308)
0.0001
(0.0000)
0.0023
(0.0055)
0.0220
(0.0461)
0.1163
(0.0425)
572.17
***
*
**
***
***
***
Large acquisitions
Model 3
Model 4
0.7581 **
0.6606
(0.2568)
(0.2610)
0.2247 ***
0.2287
(0.0246)
(0.0247)
-2.0226
-1.9874
(1.7378)
(1.7329)
0.8140
0.7882
(0.4602)
(0.4600)
0.1419 **
0.1459
(0.0546)
(0.0543)
-0.1022
-0.1025
(0.1546)
(0.1544)
0.2681 **
0.3367
(0.0873)
(0.1034)
-0.0835
-0.0930
(0.0651)
(0.0651)
0.0043
0.0050
(0.0171)
(0.0171)
0.0721 **
0.0683
(0.0250)
(0.0249)
1.4187 ***
1.4413
(0.2735)
(0.2731)
0.0002 ***
0.0002
(0.0000)
(0.0000)
0.0014
0.0017
(0.0058)
(0.0058)
0.0835
(0.0555)
0.1707
(0.0511)
**
***
238.28
***
252.73
*
***
**
**
**
***
***
***
***
Notes: N = 7,670; Year dummy variables included. Standard errors are in parentheses. One-tailed tests for
hypothesized effects, two-tailed tests otherwise.
* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Table 3. The effects of CEO underpayment on acquisition payment method
Intercept
Prior acquisitions t-1
Industry dynamism
Industry munificence
Diversification t-1
Board independence t-1
CEO pay structure t-1
CEO change
CEO power t-1
Firm size t-1
ROA t-1
R&D expense t-1
Free cash flow t-1
Stock payment
All acquisitions
Large acquisitions
Model 1
Model 2
Model 3
Model 3
-4.2638
-6.4164 *
-4.0434
-7.4945
(3.1331)
0.9745
(0.2680)
29.4138
(34.0972)
16.4783
(9.3371)
-2.8851
(0.9010)
1.9336
(3.0203)
7.1695
(1.7892)
-0.8052
(1.3552)
0.7230
(0.3379)
-1.7756
(0.4542)
-27.4335
(4.6733)
0.0021
(0.0007)
-0.0791
(0.6401)
***
**
***
*
***
***
**
CEO overpayment t-1
CEO underpayment t-1
Wald chi-square
310.13
***
(3.1956)
0.9596
(0.2674)
33.2683
(33.9813)
15.8247
(9.3155)
-2.7487
(0.8978)
1.8176
(3.0154)
8.6101
(2.0781)
-0.9948
(1.3542)
0.7047
(0.3367)
-1.8291
(0.4522)
-26.7425
(4.6648)
0.0021
(0.0007)
-0.0631
(0.6392)
1.8739
(1.1950)
3.9564
(1.0876)
326.70
***
**
***
*
***
***
**
(4.2882)
1.9292
(0.6002)
45.0022
(46.7685)
9.3036
(13.1929)
-4.8018
(1.3780)
2.4470
(4.0683)
10.2647
(2.4175)
-0.2534
(1.9041)
1.0185
(0.4614)
-1.8541
(0.6045)
-32.5953
(6.0087)
0.0022
(0.0009)
0.4329
(0.8693)
**
***
***
*
**
***
*
***
***
312.49
***
(4.3867)
1.9011
(0.5985)
48.5971
(46.5352)
8.2780
(13.1677)
-4.5422
(1.3706)
2.2370
(4.0586)
13.1328
(2.8443)
-0.5957
(1.9024)
1.0137
(0.4591)
-1.9074
(0.6005)
-31.7597
(5.9892)
0.0021
(0.0009)
0.4595
(0.8673)
1.8416
(1.5787)
5.3652
(1.5020)
328.95
**
***
***
*
**
***
*
***
***
Notes: N = 3,448 for all acquisitions; N = 2,370 for large acquisitions; Year dummy variables included.
Standard errors are in parentheses. One-tailed tests for hypothesized effects, two-tailed tests otherwise.
* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Table 4. The effects of CEO underpayment on subsequent compensation
Total compensation
Model 1
Model 2
Model 3
3.0966 *** 3.1246 *** 3.0967 ***
Intercept
(0.0850)
(0.0851)
(0.0848)
0.5370 *** 0.5311 *** 0.5356 ***
Prior
compensation (0.0093)
(0.0094)
(0.0094)
0.6223
0.6241
0.6553
Industry
dynamism
(0.6111)
(0.6106)
(0.6097)
0.3709 *
0.3808 *
0.3628 *
Industry
munificence
(0.1732)
(0.1731)
(0.1730)
Diversification 0.1267 *** 0.1206 *** 0.1236 ***
(0.0201)
(0.0201)
(0.0200)
t-1
0.0539
0.0588
0.0573
Board
independence
Short-term compensation
Model 4
Model 5
Model 6
1.6895 *** 1.6882 *** 1.6878 ***
(0.0647)
(0.0648)
(0.0648)
0.7071 *** 0.7075 *** 0.7076 ***
(0.0079)
(0.0079)
(0.0079)
0.7907
0.7903
0.7825
(0.4718)
(0.4717)
(0.4718)
0.1936
0.1918
0.1953
(0.1397)
(0.1397)
(0.1397)
0.0932 *** 0.0938 *** 0.0940 ***
(0.0143)
(0.0144)
(0.0143)
-0.0936 *
-0.0941 *
-0.0947 *
Long-term compensation
Model 7
Model 8
Model 9
2.9522 *** 2.9255 *** 2.9195 ***
(0.1237)
(0.1231)
(0.1230)
0.3774 *** 0.3740 *** 0.3770 ***
(0.0103)
(0.0103)
(0.0103)
0.2961
0.3207
0.4038
(1.2530)
(1.2480)
(1.2473)
0.7173 *
0.7474 *
0.6929
(0.3578)
(0.3567)
(0.3568)
0.1776 *** 0.1578 *** 0.1673 ***
(0.0402)
(0.0401)
(0.0399)
0.5755 *** 0.5888 *** 0.5855 ***
(0.1210)
(0.1204)
(0.1202)
(0.0537)
-0.0077
(0.0134)
-0.0006
(0.0013)
0.7835
(0.1143)
0.0002
(0.0000)
0.0006
(0.0029)
-0.4169
(0.0518)
0.5666
(0.0537)
-0.0091
(0.0134)
-0.0006
(0.0013)
0.7421
(0.1142)
0.0002
(0.0000)
0.0005
(0.0029)
-0.4283
(0.0518)
0.5570
(0.0537)
-0.0083
(0.0133)
-0.0005
(0.0013)
0.7612
(0.1141)
0.0002
(0.0000)
0.0006
(0.0029)
-0.4266
(0.0518)
0.5593
t-
(0.0595)
(0.0595)
(0.0593)
(0.0439)
(0.0257)
0.0054
(0.0066)
Change in firm -0.0005
size
(0.0006)
0.3411
ROA t-1
(0.0554)
R&D expense 0.0001
(0.0000)
t-1
Free cash flow 0.0010
(0.0014)
t-1e
-0.1413
CEO
overpayment t-1 (0.0248)
0.2824
CEO
(0.0256)
0.0051
(0.0066)
-0.0005
(0.0006)
0.3274
(0.0554)
0.0001
(0.0000)
0.0010
(0.0014)
-0.1447
(0.0247)
0.2790
(0.0257)
0.0053
(0.0066)
-0.0005
(0.0006)
0.3338
(0.0553)
0.0001
(0.0000)
0.0010
(0.0014)
-0.1439
(0.0248)
0.2799
(0.0221)
(0.0221)
(0.0221)
0.0080
0.0080
0.0080
(0.0050)
(0.0050)
(0.0050)
-0.0004
-0.0004
-0.0004
(0.0005)
(0.0005)
(0.0005)
0.1488 **
0.1500 **
0.1503 ***
(0.0456)
(0.0456)
(0.0456)
-0.0000
-0.0000
-0.0000
(0.0000)
(0.0000)
(0.0000)
0.0013
0.0013
0.0013
(0.0012)
(0.0012)
(0.0012)
-0.1337 *** -0.1334 *** -0.1332 ***
(0.0207)
(0.0207)
(0.0207)
0.1558 *** 0.1564 *** 0.1570 ***
1
(0.0439)
(0.0439)
CEO
pay 0.7455 *** 0.7442 *** 0.7440 *** 0.3755 *** 0.3764 *** 0.3774 *** 1.8437 *** 1.8412 *** 1.8448 ***
structure t-1
(0.0417)
(0.0416)
(0.0416)
(0.0307)
(0.0308)
(0.0308)
(0.0877)
(0.0875)
(0.0875)
-0.0649 *
-0.0623 *
-0.0629 *
0.0513 *
0.0511 *
0.0509 *
-0.1249 *
-0.1169 *
-0.1188 *
CEO change
CEO power t-1
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
underpayment
t-1
Number
of
acquisitions
Number
of
large
acquisitions
Wald
square
(0.0243)
(0.0243)
(0.0243)
(0.0202)
0.0291 ***
(0.0068)
0.0377 ***
(0.0203)
-0.0023
(0.0054)
(0.0203)
6042.13
***
6058.11
***
6129.69
(0.0506)
(0.0506)
0.0779 ***
(0.0140)
0.1043 ***
-0.0079
(0.0115)
chi-
(0.0507)
(0.0094)
***
9898.95
***
9900.97
***
9899.19
(0.0237)
***
3952.35
***
4048.66
***
4066.84
Notes: N = 7,670; Year dummy variables included. Standard errors are in parentheses. One-tailed tests for
hypothesized direct and mediation effects, two-tailed tests otherwise.
* p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
***
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